Auctions set to generate cash cows for children’s charity

Shaun Irvine, Ballymena Livestock Market, joins Grace Powell, Richard Powell, and Lynn Cowan, Children's Heartbeat Trust, at the launch of the fundraising auctions
Shaun Irvine, Ballymena Livestock Market, joins Grace Powell, Richard Powell, and Lynn Cowan, Children's Heartbeat Trust, at the launch of the fundraising auctions

Two livestock auctions hope to hit the hammer price of £50,000 to help purchase a new portable echocardiogram machine for the new Children’s Heart Centre currently being developed at the Royal Belfast Hospital for Sick Children.

Ballymena Livestock Market and Markethill Livestock Mart in association with Gleno Young Farmers will each hold a Christmas Show and Sale of beef cattle, prime lambs and an auction of donated items to raise funds for the charity.

This ambitious target will help leading children’s charity Children’s Heartbeat Trust in their work supporting local children and young people living with heart disease in Northern Ireland.

The charity has been involved in the development of the Children’s Heart Centre since it’s conception and will provide financial support to kit out and create a world class, child and family-centred environment within the new centre. In addition to this, the charity also aims to fund a new echocardiogram machine costing in the region of £50,000 with

the help of the local farming community. 

The funding of this new piece of equipment is crucial in ensuring that heart children are receiving the best quality treatment possible in a purpose built centre.

Farmers from across Northern Ireland are set to flock to the Markethill Auction on Thursday, November 23, at 7pm, and Ballymena Auction on Thursday, November 30, at 6.30pm.

The fundraising idea came from Richard Powell, from Keady, whose daughter, Grace, has Congenital Heart Disease (CHD). Grace, who is now eight, was diagnosed during a neonatal scan and underwent surgical procedures at three and six months of age, before undergoing major heart surgery at the age of five.

Richard’s family business, WK Powell & Son along with continued support from many customers, has helped raise funds for Children’s Heartbeat Trust over the past six years with the sale of various cattle. But this year he wanted to do even more, and has teamed up with local Livestock Markets to hold two charity auctions. Richard has already pledged the first auction prize, on behalf of all who have supported his family business in Keady by generously donating a Charolais heifer for each of the auctions.

Speaking at the launch Richard said: “I approached Hampton at Markethill Mart with the idea of holding an auction to raise additional funds for the charity. Hampton came back with the suggestion of teaming with Shaun from Ballymena Mart to raise the target of £50,000. I would sincerely like to thank Hampton for his full input and backing; and to Shaun for teaming up with us to raise the fund needs for this vital piece of equipment. Adrian Cassidy, a friend has also got behind our fundraising by running the Dublin Marathon to raise funds towards our target. I’m grateful for the generous support received to date and with everyone’s input I have no doubt our target can be achieved.”

Lynn Cowan, Children’s Heartbeat Trust Fundraiser, said: “The new Children’s Heart Centre will be a dedicated centre for children with CHD right across Northern Ireland, and will help ensure that they receive the best possible care. We are indebted to Richard along with both Ballymena and Markethill livestock markets and Gleno Young Farmers for their incredible support in funding the new echocardiogram machine - an absolutely vital piece of equipment for all cardiac children.

Shaun Irvine of Ballymena Livestock Market said: “We are delighted to be part of the fundraising campaign for local children’s charity, Children’s Heartbeat Trust. It’s great to know that our support is helping local children receive the best possible care. We have hosted many events in recent years, and hope that in joining with Markethill and Gleno Young Farmers Christmas Show and Sale, we will once again see huge numbers attending and supporting us for this worthy cause. The farming community are very generous and we hope they will get behind us on making this the most successful fundraiser to date.”

An online donation page has been set up for anyone wishing to support this event.Visit: http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/LivestockAuctions

Further information and updates on the Christmas Show, Sale and Auctions can be found on both

Ballymena and Markethill Livestock Facebook pages or by visiting www.childrensheartbeattrust.org.